Nayla Al Khaja is the first female Film Director in the United Arab Emirates.

She brings a wealth of experience and cultural knowledge to national and international projects.

In 2021, it was announced in global media outlets that a series from a concept Nayla devised will become an anthology. The first season, The Alexandria Killings, will have Oscar-winning director Terry George at the helm. Nayla is also the Executive Producer and is poised to direct some episodes.

Her latest film, The Shadow, caught the attention of noted producer, for development into an international feature which will be called Three due to be released in 2022.

Later this year, Nayla is also scheduled to shoot a family adventure film, Magic Carpet – The Search for Now. The film will be shot across multiple continents and Nayla will assume the role of Director.

Nayla is committed to telling stories that are true, authentic and uninhibited.

She has been a top-tier speaker at the London Speakers Bureau, constantly advocating for women’s voices and presence in the film world.

Her knowledge of Gulf dialects and five international languages provides her with a unique advantage when facilitating complex and sensitive projects both regionally and globally.

Having run a Production company for over 15 years, Nayla has a full 360 - degree perspective on requirements to deliver a successful production in addition to an appreciation for both the creative and fiscal.

Other notable work

Nayla has also directed many TV commercials for international brands such as Mercedes, Nike, Nestlé, Neutrogena and Nivea, to name but a few in addition to high profile clients such as Annie Leibovitz and Roger Federer. She was also appointed as the Behind-The-Scenes Director on the mega-budget film Star Trek 3, by the Dubai Government.


Nayla’s most recent accolades and awards include:

  • Top 50 most powerful personalities in Arab Cinema by Variety
  • Top 100 most powerful Arabs under 40 by Arabian Business
  • Visionary of the Year Award at the Arabian Business Awards
  • Businesswoman of the Year - Gulf Business Awards 2020
  • Black Swan Award for Women Empowerment - Asia One 2019
  • Top four Emirati women listed in Forbes - September 2019
  • Entrepreneur of the Year during the Gulf Business Awards 2017